Court denies Chanthunya bail, discharge

The High Court in Lilongwe on Wednesday dismissed an application for bail or discharge by fugitive murder suspect Misozi Chanthunya who also faces extradition to Malawi from South Africa.

In dismissing the application, High Court judge Chifundo Kachale described the application as misguided and rejected his arguments that the State was taking too long to prosecute Chanthunya when the protracted extradition fight to Malawi was a result of his own making.

Still in custody: Chanthunya

The court in South Africa granted the extradition order in September 2014, but before it could be effected, Chanthunya—who is accused of murdering his Zimbabwean girlfriend Linda Gasa— challenged the order. The matter is yet to be resolved.

In August 2017, Chanthunya, through his lawyer Donovan Silungwe, asked for bail and discharge; claiming that all attempts by his client to fight against extradition were exhausted and that the Malawi Government is delaying to extradite him.

But the judge said: “Bearing in mind that the protracted extradition process has been occasioned partly by his [Chanthunya’s] own contestation of that procedure, it does seem rather disingenuous to attribute the same to the State and even invoke it as a basis for thwarting the earnest efforts of the respondent to bring him to this jurisdiction to answer the allegations of homicide levelled against him.”

Kachale also said there was no legal basis for the court in Malawi to grant bail to Chanthunya when he was being held by the South African government.

He said: “One is at a loss as to how an order for bail or a discharge order from this court would have any legal validity or practical significance within a foreign jurisdiction. Any remedies about his detention within a South African court should be pursued before a competent South African court.”

Kachale further described as inaccurate suggestions that Chanthunya would have no legal remedy if his attempt to engage the courts in Malawi was declined.

Chanthunya went on the run in 2010 not long after the body of Gasa was found entombed under concrete at the Chanthunyas private cottage in Monkey Bay, Mangochi.

Interpol captured him in Rustenburg, South Africa on January 23 2012 after being on the run for 17 months.

He has been at the Kgosi Mampuru Prison in Pretoria since then.

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